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Begind the scenes...

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Wojtek Jezowski
Begind the scenes...
on Aug 13, 2009 at 1:09:23 pm

Hi,

Im searching of behind the scenes photos of light set ups from tv series Mad Men.
Does any of you know if anything like that is posted somewhere? Maybe a different production?

Wojtek Jezowski


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Todd Terry
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 13, 2009 at 2:22:24 pm

Nothing about the lighting, specifically, but here's short piece that's kinda neat discussing the classic camera moves that are used in the show...







T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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John Cummings
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 14, 2009 at 1:01:47 am

Interesting how the DP's go to great lengths to achieve a period look for that show, but still can't resist using more contemporary-looking soft lighting. To me, that seems to be the one missing ingredient for a convicing look for the show.

Some say the fine art of hard lighting died with the last generation to practice it...sometimes I wonder if that isn't true.

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Todd Terry
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 14, 2009 at 4:11:18 am

.[John Cummings] "...DP's go to great lengths to achieve a period look for that show, but still can't resist using more contemporary-looking soft lighting."


That's a very good and interesting observation.

I think I have an answer to that... or at least my attempt at an explanation...

I think the fairly simple answer is that what they do is an attempt to place you as a viewer into that location in the early 1960s... not to have it appear that you are watching a show from the 1960s.

Their detail is so meticulous... sets, props, dressings, wardrobe, hairstyles are all perfect for the era. But the production itself isn't... actually, not at all... certainly not from a cinematographic or diectoral point of view. All those push-ins and pull-outs were not used much by directors of the era, save for Hitch and a few others. And yes, the lighting is much softer than was seen in productions of that time. All those low and unexpected/unusal angles are not at all evocative many of the era's movies and even fewer television shows... things like that were fairly unseen outside of Hitchcock and Welles. And the editing pace and style is very decidedly non-1960s.

But rather, I think it's an attempt (and a very successful one) to transport us into those scenes, albeit in a glamorized way... rather than have us watch them as a viewer.

By the way... I desparately want to be Don Draper.


T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Dan Brockett
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 18, 2009 at 11:03:21 pm

After producing docs on Surtees, Rosson, Glennon and Toland, I totally agree, nobody will use hard lighting on actors today unless they are in costume or heavy makeup. It is a shame, I think that the digital medium and the lack of desire in the current crop of cinematographers has basically left lighting talent with hard light a dying art. A shame because soft light, while beautiful, is only one flavor of beauty, hard light can look amazingly beautiful if it is done right.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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John Cummings
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 19, 2009 at 2:54:47 am

Today's Chimeras, Kino's and LED's make it very convenient to get beautiful results quickly, with a lot less work.

The "old masters" Dan mentioned certainly had the tools (with a little more work involved) available to them to achive the same "softer" look we see so much today, but you'd have to look pretty long and hard to see an example of a really soft key light used back in the day. I mean sure, they had some diffusion on those keys, but as far as I can tell, they primarily used fill to soften the shadows. In many cases, those DP's might have used a little diffusion behind the lens, as well.

So why the hard light? Was it the film stocks? The high grids in those old studios? Perhaps the desire to "paint" the entire set without all that spill to overcome?

Seems to me that a lot of lighting after the late 60's seems to have come off of the grid (and the ceiling) and onto the floor and through the windows, I suppose to give it a more softly natural, motivated look. Although not too many actors will complain about that, but it sure must complicate things when you have to block out a lot of movement through a jungle of C-stands.

There was indeed something magical about the old look...something about those strong shadows, the deep contrast and the inky blacks. The cool eyelights. And those crisp edges of the backlights and hairlights.

Those old-school guys did amazing things with a lot of heat.




J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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